Monthly Archives: November 2019

Evolution of Mind

Another day another opportunity to move.
 
The longer I spend in the realm of training and all things fitness related the more enjoyment is taken from smily moving.
 
While lifting is still a love, it’s not the dictator it once was.
 
Being able to have some fun and play is great.
 
Movement skill is something we all lose eventually, well, that is unless we are truly diligent and stay moving for as long as we can.
 
Across the experience gained there are somer interesting types of strength that can be gained form utilising only what your mother gave you (you).
 
– Quadrupedal
– Contralateral
– Unilateral
 
Single arm push ups from all angles.
 
Pistols that transition into fully supporting your bodyweight as you move.
 
The ability to hold you weight in a dead hang from one arm, and perhaps even begin to pull yourself up eventually.
 
All offer real world transfer/benefits.
 
Now this doesn’t mean you give up lifting because as great as moving and playing with a plethora of positions is, there’s no substitute for building impressive and raw absolute strength, that has plenty of real world applications too.
 
Pressing your own bodyweight or more overhead (or carry them for distance) and deadlifting 2-3xbw has plenty of positive benefits to life.
 
Now the truth is we can’t do it all, however we can do a lot.
 
– You can move daily and practice various skills.
– You can lift every 3-5 days and really put in an effort.
 
Think of it this way, crawling, climbing and practicing transitional work can be fun and great for basic strength & conditioning.
 
Then every 3rd or 5th day you go to the gym to Press & Hinge some hefty loads and build volume (you can also do carries here or do those as daily strength practice).
 
I can already here people panicking about the lack of balance.
 
You can alternate squatting and hinging patterns, you will still build some strong legs, swapping those every 3 days works nicely.
 
Press each time you train (vary the variation), as for puling you can do that daily in the form climbing, or just put in some heavy rows, cleans, weighted things etc.
 
Honestly unless you’re an athlete or training for a specific goal you can do what you like.
 
In fact these options make a great session rota:
 
Option 1:
– Snatches (any kit/variation)
– Deadlift (any kit/variation)
– Pull Ups (any kit/variations)
 
Option 2:
– Power Clean (any kit)
– Front Squat (any kit/variation)
– Press (any kit/variation)
 
Option 3:
– Press (any kit/variation)
– Deadlift (any kit/variation)
– Loaded Carry (any kit/variation)
 
Option 4:
– Zercher Squats ((any kit/variation)
– Loaded Carry (any kit/variation)
– Clean & Press (any kit/variation)
 
You’ll get a lot out of those, plus one combined with daily movement/play/practice there will be plenty other benefits as well (physique, strength, conditioning, mobility, life).
 
Funny how we change as we get a little older.
 
Something that has found it’s way into my thoughts is this:
 
“I’d like to become like Bamboo, strong yet able to flex, bend & flow with the wind.”
 
Not what I’d expect if you’d asked me 5 years ago what my thoughts would be.
 
Back then it was – “To become Flexible Steel.”
 
Which in essence is similar, yet not quite as free as Bamboo.
 
I guess looking at them together they’re almost one and the same, huh, funny.
 
How often do you make time to simply play and have fun?
 
Give it some thought.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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3 Reasons most PT’s suck at programming

As harsh as this is you’ll find it’s more true than it should be.
 
💪 – They make everyone program about body budding
👩‍🏫 – A lack in the understanding of data tracking/trends
🥰 – Programming what they like to program
 
^^ Look at any training program an you’ll find it’s not too dissimilar from what they give everyone else.
 
Now if all of their clients are after a goal that is in the same real, say aesthetics, then the programming will indeed be very similar.
 
It’s quite ironic as many of them champion the whole ‘You need to find what works for you’ and then proceed to program essentially the same thing for everyone.
 
As mentioned before it’s less about finding what works for you and simply finding what works.
 
Yes there will be differences in volume tolerances and some of the subtle nuance of builds etc, yet in the end it’s all much of a muchness.
 
For example,
 
Want to be a sprinter? Train like sprinters train.
 
Want to be a body builder? Train like BB’ers train.
 
Want to be a thrower? Ye, you’ve guessed it, train like throwers train.
 
🧐🧐🧐
 
The fitness industry, or rather the qualifications in it are largely based off of the influence that Arnold had in the 70’s.
 
Just take a look at any level 2 or level 3 course and it’s basically all body building biased, and while there is nothing wrong with this method/philosophy of training it’s not the only tool.
 
The longer you spend in the industry the more you’ll see past all the smoke and mirrors, the biggest one being this:
 
🗣People will say what sounds right because they want your approval.🗣
 
I have discussions about the above all the time with people who while good at putting together basic programs for beginners and novices, they come unstuck when faced with someone who is actually at or above the level of intermediate.
 
^^ How do we judge levels?
 
Sports = numbers and performance trends, are they improving because if so then what you’re doing is working.
 
Aesthetic sports = does the person win/place, if so then it’s working.
 
Health = are the objective health markers improving and is the person actually improving in regards to quality of life, if they are then congratulations because it’s working.
 
🥳🥳🥳
 
It’s all pretty simple really, and as such these two questions will change your life (both for PT’s and average people).
 
1 – Is it working?
 
A = Yes > Continue as you are and track/make notes.
 
A= No, proceed to question two:
 
2 – Why is it not working (be honest)?
 
A = All progress made from current program = change it
 
A = You’re not doing something you’re meant to be doing = address you behavioural issues before changing the program.
 
🤔🤔🤔
 
Your coach/trainer should be in contact with you on a regular basis, adjusting your program to your needs as they change.
 
Your program should reflect your goal, not the training of the trainer, remember this.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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The Flaw Behind an Old Saying

Chances are you’ve heard this before:
 
“If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got.”
 
This isn’t actually true, well, not in regards to fitness.
 
In that realm if you do what you’ve always done you’ll get less each time you do it.
 
This is due to the law of accommodation.
 
Your body will get better at doing its specified task, using less energy over time as it becomes more efficient, then less muscle will be needed and eventually that will atrophy. Once that happens TDEE goes down, if there is then no adjustment in calories you’ll be in a surplus and that will eventually lead to fat gain.
 
The most difficult part is that people don’t want to give away what they are currently doing.
 
They have an emotional attachment to it you see.
 
Even if it serves no purpose anymore, they cling to it needlessly, even at the cost of progress.
 
Chances are you’re aware that the body needs to be constantly put under enough of a stimulus to warrant adaptation.
 
This is where you need to apply the ‘same yet different principle in to your training via volume, intensity, density (work capacity) or novelty.
 
The stimulus in question though needs to be large enough to actually warrant change otherwise you will fall prey to what is known as ‘transient accumulation process’ – this basically means that changes too small, too frequent or too random don’t allow the body enough time to catch on and adapt to, so it doesn’t.
 
Many fall into this trap, you can tell by looking at them and their overall level of muscularity, strength, conditioning and performance.
 
Harsh yet true for a large amount of the population, sadly.
 
– Beginners need change the least, every 12 weeks works well
– Intermediates around every 6-8 weeks will do
– Advanced it’s between 3-6 weeks
– Elite, well they do what ever they choose to do because they’re Elite
 
When was the last time you changed up your training enough to allow a positive yet empt stimulus that caused you to progress?
 
In fact when was the last time you made any progress at all?
 
Give the above some thought and if you’ve not really made any real, honest and tangible progress then leave a comment below and we shall see what tweaks/suggestions we can come up with to help you overcome that road block.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Continue?

Why seeing life like a computer game can open your mind.
 
Back in my youth I enjoyed a game or two.
 
Specifically the JRPG kind.
 
In the many hours playing them I learned some valuable lessons that carried over to life and today I’m going to share some with you in the hope that perhaps even just one may give you a different perspective on this game we call life.
 
☠️ – Died? No worries, have an Extra Life
 
Tomorrow being a new day is basically an extra life, or at least an attempt to do better than you did yesterday because you now have some knowledge and experience that you may have been missing before.
 
See each day as an extra life.
 
🧩 – Solve the puzzle when you have all the Pieces
 
In some great games you will happen upon a door, puzzle or set of tasks you’re ill-equipped to tackle, as such you make notes and move on to come back to it later when you’ve gotten everything you need.
 
Life is a lot like this, yet people will stress about not being able to solve their problem/puzzle instantly.
 
^^ You can thank the culture of participation medals and instant gratification for that.
 
Stress not, if you can’t solve something right now there is a good change you’re not meant to because you’re still missing something, so simply make notes,move forwards and come back to this problem later.
 
Just hope it’s not a hidden boss that is basically 9x harder than the final boss because that would suck major balls.
 
🌎 – Open World
 
Like a RPG real life is open world so go and explore because you’ll never complete the game by staying in the same place.
 
The best outcome you can hope for is to make the grind to 99 and be the strongest person in a low level area where nothing will challenge you and yo’ve only got 1-2skills or ever force you to grow beyond your current list of abilities.
 
Exploring the world will also help you solve more puzzles, gain new team mates (just watch out they don’t steal your materia).
 
👺 – Enemies are Real
 
While you won’t necessarily be taking lumps out of each other and drawing their HP to 0, you will have battles to face against much stronger opponents (mentally) who are at higher levels (older, more mature, better kit), however if you take on the challenge and overcome the boss/emeny at hand you will gain a level up, maybe two.
 
They might even drop a rare item (knowledge, a promotion, life hack or piece of the puzzle) that you will later use to wth great affect.
 
You will know who these people are because they will feel different to you. Sings a boss is approaching are as follows – life is going very well, you’re comfortable, the room has multiple heath, weapon, armour items and perhaps a save point.
 
🦹‍♂️🧙‍♂️🧝‍♀️ 💃 – Choosing your Party
 
You can choose who comes on the journey with you.
 
Much like setting uptake right team for a boss raid or perhaps even being forced to have a specific character in your team because of certain requirements, you’ll need to learn how to work well with others.
 
Remember that people will have skill you don’t.
 
You may be a crafty thief however when you need someone to summon the Dragon King to put an enemy to sleep you’ll find you’re not up to the task and will need to ask for help.
 
Be sure to keep your party healed and let them know how valuable they are to you, both as warriors and also friends.
 
🕸 – Watch out for Traps
 
If something is too good to be true it usually is.
 
Be that an offer from a person in the form of a platinum ticket who then later revealed themselves to be the god of death (or on that level), or a door that promises instant success.
 
These things are meant to test your resolve, some are to test your pride and unless you’re 100% ready to walk the walk you will be humbled, remember that.
 
Just because there is an easy option it doesn’t mean it’s the right one, and in the end it will cost you far more than it gives you in that moment.
 
🎪 – Mini-Games
 
Life isn’t all go go go, you will have plenty of opportunity to play a mini-game or two, so enjoy those when they come along, and if you can buy a gold ticket 30,000 Gil it will be worth it.
 
You’ll find that taking some time out to play and have fun can also give you some of the most valuable items you never knew you needed, yet while a championship belt is nice we all know the real prize worth having is the memories you shared on the Ride around the Gold Saucer.
 
^^ So be nice because even if you’re cold towards people the chances are they will still care about you, even if you don’t feel deserving of it, so I’ve away foolish pride and stubbornness because being along doesn’t make you strong, it just keeps you being alone.
 
😢 – Not everyone Stays
 
Sometimes to maven to the next crucial part of a game you must let go of a much loved character.
 
Be it from a sword through the back, a nobel sacrifice to protect a granddaughter and her new friends or the ultimate realisation that your own story is ended and soon you’ll fade away, just know it was worth it.
 
You will try to hold on to many people in life, perhaps a little too long.
 
Giving away the fear of loss and accepting that moving forwards sometimes requires doing so without your best friend, current love or dearest family member is hard to accept. Yet they wouldn’t want you to lament this parting of ways, chances are they want you to keep moving forwards, growing stronger and truly become one someone that create change in this life.
 
Relish the time you spend with people, the lesson you learn and memories you create because unlike a game you can’t replay life.
 
🎮🎮🎮🎮🎮
 
There you have it.
 
Some simple lessons from my gaming days of yesteryear.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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In 2, 3….

If breath is life
Breathe deep
Let it nourish you

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Productive or Destructive?

Chances are you’re aware of the evolution of how many training days I will now suggest most people do per week.
 
2-4 works well for many, with 3 splitting the difference 😂
 
While it is true that this attitude comes from years of making mistakes and doing too much it is not without some aspects of the past.
 
You see training less, or doing less better doesn’t mean pissing about.
 
Your sessions still want to be worth your time.
 
This will mean putting in a decent amount of intensity/effort each time you step foot in the gym, that doesn’t mean killing yourself for the sake of it.
 
There is a big difference between intense training that is productive and and intense one that is destructive.
 
Which would you rather – Productive or Destructive?
 
Many think that the training they do is the former when in reality it’s the latter and because of this they struggle to make progress.
 
When you delve into the training literature you’ll find that volume & intensity are not as inversely related as you might think.
 
True enough you still need to wave the loading and play with the volume* levels however many can work far harder than they realise and the result of not doing so is progress/gains being left on the gym floor.
 
*A volume reduction every third or fifth session by 40-60% is a good way to not burn out, intensity can be kept in the 70-85% 1RM range by doing this.
 
**If you venture in to the 90%+ realms you will last about three weeks as this level, then you may need to back off for 6-9weeks before going back to this height again.
 
Many are becoming more aware of this though.
 
The introduction of ‘Effective Reps’ lately has helped many.
 
You will find the common theme is that you need to have 15-35 effective reps per movement to make progress.
 
Say you do 5 sets of 5 with 90% of your 5RM, fresh yo will find the first 2 sets of 5 may have no real effective reps due to the muscle recruitment needed, set 3 you might get 2, then 3 on set 4 and perhaps 4 on set 5, yielding 9 total effective reps.
 
This is not new information.
 
I remember writing about this back in 2010 (the muscle fibre recruitment side of things and how more sets lead to greater fatigue and thus great muscular recruitment), I shall try and dig it up.
 
You see often 5×5 isn’t 5×5, it’s actually 2×5.
 
The first three sets while they are ‘working sets’ they’re not ‘WORKING SETS’ due to the bodies neurological firing/ramping processes.
 
It is at times like these where knowing how the numbers work can make all the difference.
 
Here is a short version that you can apply literally today:
 
– Lifting sub max RM loads you’d do well to add 2-3 extra sets (7×5 instead of 5×5)
 
– Using 100% RM loads you’d do well to do 2-3reps less than the RM load (sets of 8 with 10RM load)
 
– TUL is important, you want to create as much tension from rep 1 as possible and aim to keep this throughout the entire set (or ideally generate more tension if possible)
 
A nifty way to apply this in training without needing to know the numbers though is as follows – Ramping.
 
Ramping:
 
– Pick a rep range (6)
– Do sets of 6 adding weight until you hit the 6RM for the day.
 
Next Options:
 
– Drop down 10% and rep sets of 6 until you lose a rep, then drop another 5% and repeat.
 
Looks like this – 6RM = 100kg, -10% to 90kg 6,6,6,6,5, -5% to 85kg 6,6,6,4 – finished for the day on lift movement.
 
Alternatively:
– Hit the top 6, rest 5min and repeat the same load, do this as many times as possible with good form.
 
Looks like this – 6RM = 100kg, rest 6, rest 6, rest, 6 rest, 4 now done for the day.
 
Finally:
– Hit the top 6, drop 20% off the load and re-ramp, repeat this from the original 20% drop until speed/tension/form can no longer be maintained.
 
Looks like this – 6RM = 100kg, -20%, 80kg re-ramp>97kg, -20%, 80kg re-ramp>90kg, -20% 80kg re-ramp>85kg – a good place to stop for the day.
 
While simple they are effective ways of getting in more quality work.
 
Remember that you don’t need to spend hours training.
 
You do however how to train with intent, otherwise you’re merely there for the sake of being there and while people may say that you doing something is better than nothing I can tell you without any hesitation it’s not.
 
Something isn’t better than nothing.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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The List

Living in the wonderful world of fitness it’s easy to get lost in the endless amount of poor information.
 
So many trying to stay relevant.
 
Clinging to their time in the sun because without their adoring fans they are nothing.
 
They’d even go as far as completely making stuff up.
 
Oh yes, you’d be amazed at how many fit-pro’s, influencers and alike will bend the truth to fit their narrative, or selectively pick the information they share.
 
All you need to it look and you can see it.
 
Take all the nutrition documentaries lately, all base and driving an agenda.
 
While many talk of health and a better lifestyle none actually tackle the elephant in the room; people bad habits and poor lifestyle choices.
 
Oh yes, the blame can often be placed on the person looking back at you in the mirror each morning.
 
This is another thing that our world will gloss over.
 
It’s easy to blame everything else for our issues, to seek out barriers and logical reasons for failure when in reality (at least 98% of the time) the fault is ours alone.
 
People moan about their life yet they won’t do anything to change the one consistent thing in it, themselves.
 
In regards to fitness related information there isn’t much more to share, not really.
 
You’d do far better looking into habit change, taking accountability, being responsible and general psychology if you would like to make progress in this life/world.
 
Of course many won’t.
 
Admitting our own fault or foolishness is too hard.
 
This then begs the question….
 
Why don’t you want to do that which you need to?
 
Looking at all the reasons why you won’t do something, all the excuses and justifications you use can be quite eye opening.
 
^^ Write them down.
 
Seriously, write down all the reasons you don’t do things.
 
Be honest with this list, even if you feel ashamed of some of the things you write down they’re still worth writing down because the first step to giving that attitude away is acknowledging it exists.
 
People will take the path of lease resistance.
 
The path that doesn’t make them feel bad.
 
Are you one of them?
 
Take your time with this list and tell the truth to yourself.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Gym Free

Soon I am to be without a gym.
 
The place I currently train is set to close, it has had a good run however as with all good things it must come to an end.
 
A few good memories have been had at this simple place.
 
You’d find the beauty of this particular gym in the fact it had very little kit and very limited weight (200kg ish in plates, total), a pull up bar, TRX, small section of dumbbells (2-20kg) and 2 DAP cable machine.
 
Honestly it made for some of the most productive training I’ve had in years.
 
It also helped break my addictive mindset.
 
Personally I enjoy doing 3 movements per training session.
 
This seems to be the right amount of work that allows a solid focus with ample variety while also cutting out any chance of bullshit and exercise fodder.
 
Junk volume became a thing of the past.
 
Typically sessions were about 45-60min, if time was short only the main movement would be done, thus resulting in a one lift training session.
 
The other two lifts tended to be accessory, unless I felt like doing something more taxing.
 
My most favoured one lift sessions:
 
Deadlifts
Squats
Presses
Rows
Pull/Chin Ups
 
When the main lift didn’t feel like it was enough some ultra basic superset tactics would be utilised:
 
Front Squat & Straight Leg DL
Sumo DL & Floor Press
Press & Pull Up
 
The typical session would look like this:
 
100x Rows (bodyweight, bar or DB)
Main lift – 45min of S/B/DL/P
100x Reverse Flies*
 
*Alternated session to session with tricep work
 
Yep, back would be done first and last, mainly for postural purposes and some feeling of the posterior chain.
 
I’m also not adverse to doing a few hundred kettlebell swings in a day (or perhaps 100 snatches) just because I feel like it, the posterior chain is king and needs to be treated as such.
 
It’s not much, at least it’s honest though.
 
You’ve now had an insight into the training I do.
 
There is less emotional attachment to specific movements these days, for that I’m thankful.
 
Training is just training at the end of the day.
 
If you don’t squat for 6 months no one is going to care, not really. That doesn’t mean you won’t train your legs in some way shape of from, it just means you wont necessarily do it by squatting.
 
Oh yes, you don’t need to train in the classic body building or Frankenstein method (by body part).
 
You can choose to train the way you desire.
 
There are not training police. No underground triad that will cut off the tip of your little finger for not training like a body builder (they only do that if you dishonour/fail them, phew).
 
You may be aware my philosophy of training evolved.
 
It was once about doing it all,now it’s about simply doing better.
 
Get really really good at something, or a few things, take them to their limit then be happy and give them a break and do something entirely different.
 
You know when it’s time to give something away (movement/exercise wise) when you start to get emotionally attached to it.
 
Ideally you give it away before this happens.
 
One way to hep you do this is to find a gym that has very little to offer in the way of kit because in that you’ll find it’s true gift, freedom.
 
Remember this the next time you’re presented a choice.
 
Instead of choosing fashion (creature comforts, shiny kit and all the trimmings).
 
Choose freedom.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Mind, Yourself

Your mind often gives out before your body.
Mental toughness or resilience is a desirable attribute.
You can build up this skill and reserves of will-power of many years of deliberate practice and mindfulness.
While some people are just born tougher than others, it is a trait that can be learned, if it matters enough to you.
Digging deep as it’s know can be rather uncomfortable.
You see this is the crossroads for many because we greatly dislike being uncomfortable because, well, it’s not a nice feeling.
Stress (positive & negative) is an integral part of life.
Learning to embrace it, accept it and finally master it.
This is what will take your levels of performance in all aspects of life to the next level, provided this is something you desire.
One way you can begin to gain this is to practice it.
The gym is a great place to apply this thought process because the next time you’re lifting just see how many reps you can do with a certain weight before you have to stop, and then keep going 😂
In all seriousness you’d find you’ve probably got more in the tank.
When we hit our rep limit because everything is burning and our mind is screaming at us to stop, we often find there is actually way more left in the tank.
You have a lot of reserves, you just don’t sue them because it’s uncomfortable to do so.
True story.
^^Obviously you don’t let your form in lifting go to shit when trying this as that will lead to injury.
The common name for the above is RIR – Reps in Reserve.
Many of us have way more to give than we actually do, yet we still wonder why we’re not getting the progress we perhaps feel we should (hint…. it’s because we’ve still got more to give).
You can apply this to your nutrition as well.
Do you need to give in to your cravings/addictions or is that something you do simply because you’re not resilient enough?
Business has a similar vein, those who tough things out often reap the rewards those who dropped out early on wish they’d stuck around to gain in the end.
Living in our world of instant gratification has made us weak.
Mentally, physically and emotionally.
Worry not though, you can regain that which has become dulled over the years. You’d simply need to spend some time sharpening these skills again and before you know it you’ll be the one people come to asking –
“How did you do it, can I do that too?”
Be warned though, this isn’t a comfortable experience.
Change never is.
In the end it will be worth it because you will have elevated yourself and with that you’ll be able to help bring those who matter to you up as well.
Success breed success after all.
You should investigate this thoroughly.
Enjoy,
Ross

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Progress in Life, Lifting and Learning

There are a lot of things to remember when it comes to making progress in life.

Well, at least that’s what most would have you think.

Over the years these have been the glaring consistencies:

– Master the basics
– Failure is the best teacher
– More is rarely better, it’s just more

In regards to the first point, if you are looking at it in a fitness sense you’ll not really need more than the basics and while all the other options available are nice, they’re not necessary.

Squats, Presses, Pulls, Loaded Carries & Moving.

You don’t need much more from the gym, the rest you can gain outside of 2-3 sessions per week by partaking in various hobbies.

Life doesn’t need to be spent living in the gym.

A lesson it took me many failures to learn because of doing too much for too long and not getting anywhere that is where understanding less done better yields greater results than more just for the sake of more.

Live wise the above got in the way of experiencing it.

It’s a place many fall into, especially when they feel that by changing their look to gain more confidence, attention and self-love will be the answer, which of course it never is.

The reason for that is a simple one.

Just because you change who you are on the outside that doesn’t mean it will even scratch what you are on the inside.

The gym doesn’t change who you are, you do.

The gym is meant to help improve your life, not consume it.

If you’ve spent year in there training away and still feel no better in who you are then you’ve merely exchanged on prison and place to hide for another.

By all means train, move well, look good on the outside.

Just be sure to live and grow on the inside too.

Enjoy,
Ross

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